I have a standing appointment on my calendar. Wednesday around noon, I pick up my youngest and take her to lunch. We’ve been getting to know each other again over Panera Mac and Cheese for the last month or so. It’s a highlight of my week. After years of missing out on this kind of simple thing, it feels like a gift.
She’s living life on her own terms, newly married, with a baby on the way. They are navigating their lives and her pregnancy with courage and humor. She’s learning to live within their means, make meals, take care of her home, and care for her husband. They are figuring it out, just as we all do.
I am privileged to be invited in on Wednesdays. We talk about stuff, plan, and just enjoy each other’s company. I get to see her grow week to week, listen to the things she is learning, and ask questions about her life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Keeping up with the kids is hard. Almost always, it is hard. But now that they are grown, I find that it takes planning and intention. I won’t just naturally know what they are struggling with, how to pray for them, or where they could use some encouragement if I don’t see them. But that has always been true.
Individual time with a single kid in a family like ours has always been a challenge, and an opportunity. When they were younger, and their physical needs were overwhelming it was easy to loose track of their hearts. We adopted a “kid date” strategy. We tried to pull one of them away for time with one of us as often as possible. These “dates” weren’t much. A trip to McDonalds with Mom wasn’t a big commitment of time or money, but could offer an important chance to hear his thoughts and have access to her concerns.
As adults, this is still a priority. Last weekend, Keith and Allie enjoyed Sunday brunch. I love having the chance to take Brian to lunch after church or dinner in the middle of the week. Their schedules are crazy, and finding opportunities are always a challenge. But we keep at it because we so want to know them. We don’t just want to be a family, but we also want to know who they are as they grow and change. And it is so easy to lose sight of each other in the hustle of life. Families are not just made of biology and history, but also of shared experiences and multiple relationships. Our family gains strength and resilience from the individual ties of friendship. So, we’ll continue to make time for lunch Wednesdays and enjoy this time.
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